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Constant speed propeller system


									                         CONSTANT SPEED PROPELLER SYSTEM

The following components, when installed on an aircraft form an essential part of the propeller
and the propeller control system. Note that some of the components are frequently not
supplied by the propeller manufacturer.

       Propeller
       Primary Governor
       Over-speed Governor and Primary Pump
       Synchrophaser
       Spinner and Bulkhead
       De-Ice System

A propeller system consists of far more than just blades mounted in a hub at the front of the
typically configured aircraft. First of all, the propeller hub serves as a device to contain the
blades (centrifugal force can range from 15,000 lbs. to as much as 50,000 lbs. for normal
operation). Secondly, the hub assembly contains the propeller blade pitch change mechanism
that adjusts blade angle on command from a governing device. Of fundamental importance in
the design of this pitch change mechanism is the manner in which it defaults upon loss of
control input (usually engine oil supply for the typical hydraulically actuated system). A twin-
engine aircraft will default to feather and a single-engine aircraft will typically default to low
pitch. There are exceptions as with most things. A single-engine aircraft system with a
reciprocating engine may be so defined as to default to high pitch on loss of engine oil
pressure if the installation is aerobatic. Therefore, when oil pressure is lost during an
aerobatic manoeuvre, the propeller will coarsen pitch thus resulting in a reduced RPM thus
preventing an engine overspeed.

Propeller construction may consist of an aluminum "clam-shell" hub where the hub captures
the blades, or a steel hub "spider" design where the blades are clamped to a hub . The blades
may be made from an aluminum forging or from either Kevlar 49® or Carbon based fabrics or
unidirectional tapes. The composite blades would additionally incorporate a leading edge
erosion sheath to protect the blade from both abrasion (sand) and erosion (water) as well as
offer an external conductive for a lightning strike.

The pitch control typically comes from a hydraulic fly-ball governor mounted on the engine.
The governor senses whether the engine/propeller is running at the correct RPM and either
supplies or maintains oil flow to the propeller, or drains oil to the engine sump. Of course, it is
very important that the engine-mounted governor be properly matched to the propeller for
proper pitch change command and response. The governor may or may not be supplied by
the propeller manufacturer; however, it is necessary to ensure the propeller manufacturer has
approved the governor for use with its propeller. In addition to controlling the propeller, this
governor typically contains a pump that increases the oil pressure to a higher level than that
which the engine supplies to a value sufficient to control the propeller.

An over-speed governor is not used on reciprocating engines because the reciprocating
engine can be sufficiently slowed (in such a failure mode condition) with a throttle reduction
so as not to over-speed. The over-speed governor is often not supplied by the propeller

On twin-engine aircraft, whether they are reciprocating or turbine-powered, the propeller
governor or synchronizer may be supplemented with an electronic synchrophaser. One
purpose of the synchrophaser is to match the two propellers to the same RPM. However, the
more difficult and relevant task of the synchrophaser is to match not only the RPM, but also
the phase position between the two propellers. In other words, when a blade on one propeller
passes the fuselage, a blade on the other propeller is operating at the same speed and is at a
specific and predefined relative position. In doing so, airframe vibration and cabin noise can
be substantially reduced.

The propeller hub mechanism will nearly always be protected by and streamlined to the
airframe nacelle by a spinner assembly.

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